The Belgian Malinois is a dog known for its high energy and the love it has for being physically active.
As a result, the Belgian Malinois needs to be exercised a lot, around three or four times each day, for a total of at least 20 minutes.
These dogs love to run and jump, so they need to be taken for a jog often and given space to run and release all of their limitless energy.
Though they were originally bred for herding, and are nowadays used in dry desert areas like Afghanistan for military work, do these dogs also like water, and can they swim?
Do Belgian Malinois Like Water?
Yes, a lot of Belgian Malinois really enjoy the water and swimming, and will eagerly get into the water.
Since this breed enjoys any sort of activity which allows them to release their energy and gives them the physical exercise they need to stay fit and healthy, most Belgian Malinois do indeed like water.
This is especially true in dogs which had positive experience or contact with water as puppies, which will give them a love of water for life.
Belgian Malinois are even frequently included in dock diving events, during which they jump from a dock into the water to see which dog can jump the highest, or for the longest distance.
Even though the majority of Belgian Malinois like water naturally, and will be ready to jump in at the presented opportunity, there are some individuals that are not as happy to go for a swim.
This may be due to either bad previous experiences, a link they could have formed with water meaning that it is bath time, or even, a shy or timid nature.
Courageous, bold Belgian Malinois dogs with an adventurous spirit will especially be willing to get in the water for the first time.
The most important thing is to introduce your Belgian Malinois to water early on in their life.
When they are still young puppies, it is easier to get them used to it.
Positive experiences and fun games in water will surely mean they will have a liking to it when they are older dogs.
Can Belgian Malinois Swim?
Yes, Belgian Malinois can swim, and in fact they are actually very good swimmers.
This is due to physical characteristics such as the outstanding strength they possess, and their light yet muscular body – which all support their swimming abilities.
As a result of their smaller size, low body weight, and shorter fur, these dogs can stay afloat and swim with great efficiency through the water, unlike a lot of dogs with a heavier, more massive body, and longer, shaggier coats.
Also, Belgian Malinois have long, slender, powerful legs which they can use in order to kick and propel themselves forward, thus aiding them in moving quickly and effectively through the water as they swim.
Their long and thin legs also allow them to move gracefully and with great ease through water.
These dogs further have the energy and stamina which allow them to swim for long periods of time without tiring out or become fatigued, unlike some big, heavy breeds of dogs.
Even for those Belgian Malinois dogs that find it harder to swim, it is easy to teach them how to increase their swimming abilities.
This is a result of their high trainability and incredible eagerness to learn new things and to work or perform physically.
Benefits Of Swimming For Your Belgian Malinois
1. It Improves The Overall Health And Well-Being Of Your Dog
The act of swimming has many benefits, and one of the primary benefits is that it is good for a dog’s overall health and well-being.
Swimming improves respiratory and cardiovascular systems as it strengthens the heart and lungs.
It decreases inflammation, increases the metabolism of the dog, and it helps in keeping them fit and giving them physical exercise and activity which they require in plenty.
Swimming further improves the belgian malinois circulation which leads to healthier skin and coat, while the function of moving their legs through the water and against its resistance will strengthen and tone their limbs.
This is because in the act of swimming the dog uses all leg muscles and works them.
For obese belgian malinois, swimming may be the key to help them in their journey of losing excess body weight.
This activity burns calories and speeds up their metabolism, providing physical exercise for them without tiring them out as quickly as on land.
This is because the water will take all their weight, allowing them to swim for longer periods of time than if they were walking or running on land.
2. It Supports Joints And Relieves Pain
While physical exercise in the form of running or jumping can be harsh on a dog’s joints, swimming does not put any stress on joints because it does not weigh the dog down.
In fact, hydrotherapy is a popular way to help those dogs that may suffer from joint pain or inflammation, even dogs suffering from arthritis.
Swimming in heated up water promotes blood flow to dogs’ muscles to help warm them up quickly and it improves the circulation to the sore area.
Swimming also allows dogs to loosen up and stretch out sore, stiff, or swollen joints.
The resistance of the water will strengthens their limbs and works the muscles to support the surrounding joints.
3. It Relieves Stress And Tension
Swimming can be relaxing for belgian malinois and can have a peaceful effect on both the body and mind.
They can cool off and free themselves of the energy that may be pent up in them, de-stressing and calming down as a result.
Some dogs may feel tensed up, and by swimming they will be able to loosen up when they get in the water.
It will also provide mental stimulation for them, as swimming will allow them to have fun, exercise, and something to do to occupy their time with, lifting their mood.
Sessions in the water can even promote a better night’s sleep for your dog, as they will likely be tired at the end of the day after enjoying themselves and swimming in the water.
How To Teach Your Belgian Malinois To Swim?
The best way to teach your Belgian Malinois to swim is to start as early as possible, especially when they are still a puppy.
When your dog is very small, swimming lessons can start in the bathtub or a children’s pool, but for older dogs, a lake, river, or pool will be suitable.
Get Him/Her Into Touch With Water
At first, when a dog is learning to swim, they need to be able to touch the bottom of the lake or the river bed, or the pool floor, with their feet.
This will ensure that they will not sink and that they will feel safe, comfortable, and in control of their environment.
The water must also be calm, as waves could scare off your dog on his first time learning to swim.
When a dog is starting out swimming lessons, these must be shorter at first and gradually increase with time as the dog gets more comfortable with the water.
This will also prevent over working your dog and avoid them getting muscle cramps.
When beginning to teach a dog how to swim, they need to get acquainted with the water to start off with.
You can go into the water yourself and encourage them to follow along, perhaps bribing them with a treat if they are hesitant.
When they are standing in the water, reward them, and allow them to explore it and get acquainted to their new environment.
Sometimes it may take more than just one time before your dog is used to standing in the water and even goes in by itself.
First Attempts At Swimming
When you feel that your dog is ready, try wading into deeper water, at all times being beside your dog and holding him up in case he begins to sink.
As he floats, move him along in the water, and likely he will begin to instinctively lift his paws to swim.
When he does this, praise him and reward him.
Repeat this several times, until you feel like your dog is comfortable and happy to swim on its own.
Let him go in the water but make sure you are there in case the dog panics and you need to hold him up. Keep encouraging him to keep swimming but don’t over do it.
Swimming will come naturally and instinctively to most dogs, unless they are of a breed unfit for swimming, but remember that you need to support your dog the first few tries and be there at all times.
An Alternative Way
Another good way to encourage your dog to swim in water is to throw in his toy, as in a game of fetch.
This will propel the dog into the water, and they will get acquainted with the water in this way.
They will begin swimming to get their toy and bring it back.
This will help the dog associate the water and swimming with pleasure, joy, and fun, as they will be happy jumping into the water for their toy.
How Long Can Your Belgian Malinois Swim In Water?
Belgian Malinois like water, and as well as that, these dogs and a lot of other breeds can swim for 30 minutes or more at a time without becoming exhausted!
Other dogs, mostly those with heavier bodies, longer coats, or stubby, shorter legs might only be able to swim for 5 to 15 minutes before tiring out.
Belgian Malinois are confident swimmers, and they have unbelievable stamina.
These dogs will be able to swim for a long time, especially as they are used to being active and working for countless hours.
Their light and medium-sized build will also allow them to stay afloat easily and their strong legs will give them power to move through the water with no difficulty.
Other dogs, like the Newfoundland for instance, may not have the light and muscular slender body of the Belgian Malinois, but they have webbed feet which helps them swim more effectively.
7 Swimming Safety Tips For Your Belgian Malinois
1. Don’t Overwork Your Dog
When teaching you dog to swim, make sure to make the swimming lessons short at first and then gradually increase them, but don’t overwork your dog.
2. Use A Life Jacket
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Buy your dog floats or a life jacket specially designed for canines if you worry about a possibility of them sinking or finding it hard to stay afloat.
This is also a good option for dogs that are little, have short muzzles, or short legs.
3. Watch Out For Waves
Ensure there are no strong waves or riptides where your dog is swimming.
4. Be Careful In Oceans
Don’t let your dog drink salty ocean water or eat dead fish that may have been washed up on the shore, as both could make them sick.
5. Supervise Your Dog
Supervise your dog at all times wherever you are.
6. Beware Of Jellyfish
Beware of jellyfish which could sting your dog and of toxic algae blooms which could poison your dog and even lead to death.
7. Watch Out In Summer
Don’t let your dog swim for too long in the sun, as overexposure to sunlight can lead to stroke, even in the water.
How To Dry Your Belgian Malinois After Swimming
When your dog gets out of the water, you may prefer to let him air dry if it is warm outside, or you may prefer to dry him off by means of a towel or blow dryer.
Air drying is great for dogs with shorter fur, like the Belgian Malinois, as it will remove the moisture from their fur in a little amount of time.
For dogs with thick, long double-coats, air drying may not be the best option.
This is because their fur will not dry off as quickly, and a coat that remains damp for a long period of time – especially in humidity – could lead to matting and knots, or even to skin infections and hot spots, which is a possibility to beware of!
To assist with your dog’s drying process, you can dry him off with a towel to remove as much moisture from the coat as possible, by pressing it down instead of rubbing the dog with it.
Rubbing only results in matting and tangling. Keep using the towel on your wet dog until he is sufficiently dry.
If your dog allows it, you can speed up their fur drying process by using a blow-dryer.
This must be done with extra care and precautions, and the heat must be at a lower setting.
You should always keep the nozzle in motion while blow-drying your dog, and a few inches away from him, because keeping it too close or concentrating it in one area could lead to discomfort or even burns.
In conclusion, do Belgian Malinois like water?
Yes, most of these dogs like water and love to swim, which they are good at because of their light build, strong and powerful long paws, and their energy and stamina.
Swimming will come naturally to most Belgian Malinois and many other breeds, but for those dogs that do not know how to swim, start slow when teaching them.
Encourage them to stay afloat and move their legs while you hold them up for support.
Swimming will do every dog good, as it has so many benefits for overall health, joints, and it brings pleasure and stress-relief.
Of course, some safety precautions must be taken to avoid your dog coming to any harm.
But if these are followed, you can be sure that your dog will get much joy from swimming and be able to stay fit, healthy, and physically active.